The Repco Supercars Championship will get the chance to take centre stage in Queensland’s north for this weekend’s NTI Townsville 500.
After a sizzling round in Darwin where Shane van Gisbergen continued to solidify his credentials as the title contender, the championship returns to a more traditional racing format on the popular street circuit of Reid Park.
For the first time since the opening round at Bathurst, just two two-hour races will be contested on Saturday and Sunday, opposed to three shorter races as seen in recent times.
There is plenty of excitement surrounding this weekend too with Townsville having provided plenty of entertainment for fans in the 29 races since its inception back in 2009.
In 2019, it was a dramatic day as heavy rain caused chaos across the two races, but van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin stood tall and came out on top.
Last year saw another heavyweight battle between the championship’s biggest names as van Gisbergen, eventual champion-elect McLaughlin and 2017 champion Jamie Whincup shared the spoils with two wins apiece across the double-header in 2020.
Returning to 2021 and anything is possible – except rain, since there has been not a single drop forecasted by weather experts.
This weekend also marks the official halfway mark of the season and van Gisbergen, who has one of the biggest margins in recent history for this point of a season, can put himself in the box seat of the title fight should he win either race. Should he drop down the order or fail to finish in one or both races, with plenty of points on offer that gap could close considerably.
The battle for second between Whincup and Chaz Mostert is significantly closer with just seven points separating the duo, while McLaughlin’s Shell V Power Race Team successor in Will Davison is locked in a tight tussle with Cameron Waters for fourth place.
But if Davison is to move up the standings and start challenging for the title, he will need to start winning races – and to do it at a circuit he hasn’t won at since 2013 would be the perfect way to reinvigorate that championship charge.
For Waters and Mostert, they too will need to do it on a track that they’ve never won at, although both have racked up a number of podiums at the circuit, including three each last year, so an upset may be on the cards.
Outside the racing, there is plenty of entertainment for attending fans to enjoy with the Saturday Night Thrills activation to feature drag car demonstrations, Airtime FMX, Hot Wheels Stunt Team, fireworks and live music.
The NTI Townsville 500 takes place around Reid Park in Townsville on 9-11 July.
Friday 9 July
10:50am -11:30am – Practice 1
3:05pm-3:45pm – Practice 2
Saturday 10 July
11:15-11:30am – Armor All Qualifying Race 15
1:05 – 1:35pm – Armor All Top Ten Shootout Race 15
3:45-5:50pm – Race 15
Sunday 11 July
10:15am – 10:30am - Armor All Qualifying Race 16
12:05 – 12:35pm – Armor All Top Ten Shootout Race 16
2:45-4:50pm – Race 16
(All times are marked as AEST)
Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series
Porsche Carerra Cup
Championship Top 10
Shane van Gisbergen - 1361 points
Jamie Whincup - 1140
Chaz Mostert - 1131
Will Davison - 1087
Cameron Waters - 1064
Mark Winterbottom - 861
Nick Percat - 827
Anton De Pasquale - 762
James Courtney - 744
Will Brown – 741
#2 Holden Commodore ZB - Bryce Fullwood
#3 Ford Mustang - Tim Slade
#4 Holden Commodore ZB - Jack Smith
#5 Ford Mustang - Jack Le Brocq
#6 Ford Mustang - Cameron Waters
#7 Ford Mustang - Andre Heimgartner
#8 Holden Commodore ZB - Nick Percat
#9 Holden Commodore ZB - Will Brown
#11 Ford Mustang - Anton De Pasquale
#14 Holden Commodore ZB - Todd Hazelwood
#17 Ford Mustang - Will Davison
#18 Holden Commodore ZB - Mark Winterbottom
#19 Holden Commodore ZB - Fabian Coulthard
#20 Holden Commodore ZB - Scott Pye
#22 Holden Commodore ZB - Garry Jacobson
#25 Holden Commodore ZB - Chaz Mostert
#26 Ford Mustang - David Reynolds
#34 Holden Commodore ZB - Jake Kostecki
#35 Holden Commodore ZB - Zane Goddard
#44 Ford Mustang - James Courtney
#88 Holden Commodore ZB - Jamie Whincup
#96 Holden Commodore ZB - Macauley Jones
#97 Holden Commodore ZB - Shane van Gisbergen
#99 Holden Commodore ZB - Brodie Kostecki